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How Long Term Stress Creates Harmful Inflammation in Your Body


Studies have shown that the effects of long term stress can lead to harmful inflammation. When you get stressed, this inflammation is your body responding to that stress.

You may be faced with an emotionally challenging situation. Or, you may feel overwhelmed and this can cause stress. No matter what causes the stress, your body reacts to it the same way.

The problem is that the inflammation that results because of the stress can lead to the development of certain diseases. Long term stress forces you to experience the fight or flight mode.

Your body gears up and gets ready to protect you. This is a natural occurrence. When it happens, your body begins pumping out cortisol. This hormone then gets to work focusing all of your body’s attention and energy on whatever the perceived threat is.

Everything in your body kicks into high gear as it prepares to save you. Your heart is going to beat faster, your adrenaline is at the max level and your pulse and blood pressure is elevated.

You start breathing faster and heavier. As all of this is going on, your body starts pouring out glucose as a way to get you ready to fight or run. While all this is a completely natural process, the fight or flight mode is meant to only occur when there’s a true emergency or threat to your safety.

But because your body can’t differentiate between everyday situational stress and the real deal, you end up with this unneeded reaction that leads to inflammation. The inflammation that develops as a response to the stress is felt in the body the same way you’d feel it if you were actually sick.

With a true illness, your body’s immune system gets busy producing markers to help you fight that sickness. These markers show up for work, then leave when you no longer need them.

But the problem is that stress causes these markers, known as pro-inflammatory cytokines, to stick around. These then begin to harm your body rather than helping it. You enter a state of inflammation as a result.

Stress is known to cause inflammation related diseases such as heart disease. That’s because long term stress causes the heart to work harder than it’s supposed to for longer periods of time.

Any inflammatory disease can be caused by chronic stress. Another example is gastrointestinal conditions, such as IBS. But it’s also linked to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis as well.

An inflammatory form of arthritis known as rheumatoid arthritis is linked to chronic stress. The inflammation can also worsen other conditions, such as diabetes and migraines. To improve inflammation, set up a strategy to lessen the stress in your life or find ways to deal with it so that your health isn’t affected. 

You Know You're Ready For A Change, But You're Feeling Stuck

Women Report More On-Going Stress Than Men


Stress is common in both men and women. However, women are faced with more chronic stress than men. The reason that it’s different has to do with how stress affects the body as well as how the person deals with the stressor.

Hormones play a huge part in the way that stress affects a person and women have a stronger response to the stress hormone than men do. Due to the hormonal makeup of women, they’re less likely to handle the influx without it affecting them.

Because stress causes both a physical and an emotional response, this also affects women differently. Plus, women juggle different aspects of life than men do. When there’s chronic stress in a woman’s life, she’s more likely to experience a high level of symptoms.

These symptoms can be ones such as gastrointestinal issues. Women are more likely to suffer from insomnia than men are when faced with ongoing stress. Women are also more likely to have changes in the way that they eat than a man does.

Many report a loss of appetite. The stress also takes a toll in the form of a complete mental and physical exhaustion in women more so than in men. The reason that stress affects women twice as much as it does men also has to do with the amount of pressure and the workload that some women face.

Many women hold full time jobs in or out of the home. They care for children as well as a spouse or significant other. Studies have shown more women than men carry a responsibility for another family member, such as a grandparent or parent.

In an effort to juggle all of their responsibilities, women develop chronic stress due to an attempt to handle too many issues at once. This stress can often develop as a result skipping healthy activities in order to try to gain some free time in their overloaded lives.

Some women will start to limit their sleep and as a result don’t get enough rest. Others will skip out on relaxation events, such as taking a day off or getting together with friends.

The ongoing stress faced by women can come from some of the same areas where a man also deals with stress. For example, some women tend to do more at work as far as responsibilities.

They’ll often step in to handle something for a coworker or accept a heavier workload without speaking up for themselves. They may work longer hours at the office. It’s not uncommon for many women who report stress to have the habit of working well over 40 hours a week to try to get ahead.

Even when accepting more work or more responsibilities, women have a harder time letting go or rearranging priorities to take care of their own needs over those they care about. So this causes the stress to continue to build until it begins to show up in physical aches and other health issues.

Chronic Stress Can Be Brought on By Other Health Issues


There are many issues that are stressful in life. Your job. Relationships. Money. But the state of your health can also play a role in how much stress you have to face each day, and chronic health problems can easily lead to chronic stress.

It’s a horrible cycle for some diseases, where the stress worsens the disease itself, which then causes more stress. Take diabetes, for instance. Stress is known to be problematic for blood sugar numbers, and just managing the disease itself is stressful.

This isn’t the kind of health issue that you deal with once and it’s over, like chicken pox, for example. This is something you’re burdened with day after day, at all hours. It affects what you eat, how you sleep, what kind of mood you’re in, and more.

The stress toll that diabetes and other diseases take on you can be exhausting. Some other health issues cause chronic stress, too. Cancer is a terrifying disease that can sometimes be terminal.

But even for non-terminal health conditions, such as chronic back or knee pain, the stress of dealing with it can be immense. Chronic pain is something that never lets up. Even with a disease like diabetes, you’ll have times when you’re not thinking about the condition itself.

But chronic pain never gives you a moment’s peace. There are all sorts of health conditions that create different types of stress. Thyroid disease not only can be tiring and limiting, but it also might cause you to lose your hair.

This embarrassing condition can be very stressful for both men and women alike. They not only have to stress about managing the disease itself, but also the side effects it causes.

Whenever you’re plagued with some sort of health condition that creates stress for you, you’ll need to learn how to embrace a positive outlook and manage the stress whenever you need it most with a variety of techniques.

You can use deep breathing, visualization, positive affirmations, coloring, journaling, painting, meditation, yoga or a whole host of other options to help you manage your emotions.

Sometimes, it may not even be your health that’s creating the stress, but the health of someone you love. A spouse, parent or child might have a condition where you’re frightened or being the caregiver, and this requires you to manage your stress during some of the most heartbreaking times in your life. 

You Know You're Ready For A Change, But You're Feeling Stuck

How the Global Pandemic Has Created a Chronic Stress Crisis

How the Global Pandemic Has Created a Chronic Stress Crisis

Most people have never lived through a frightening event like the pandemic of 2020. This was one where life as we know it changed, and more than a year later, things still aren’t back to normal.

People lost their jobs, relationships crumbled, they had their health put at risk, or lost loved ones to the virus. Finances were ruined and businesses had to close. It’s no wonder the mental health of men and women has suffered so greatly during this tumultuous time.

For each person, there would be a factor they could pinpoint as to what the biggest stress was regarding the pandemic. Some would say it’s the claustrophobia they feel at being locked down for months on end.

Other would say it’s the lack of human interaction they now have. They no longer get to chat with coworkers in person, their kids don’t have playmates to interact with, and they can’t even visit their grandparents or other loved one when they need it the most.

Financial stress has been a big stressor, even with small government stimulus funds that really didn’t do much to assist the average household. If they were business owners, being forced to close for months could be devastating – and they also had to watch their staff suffer the loss, too.

While many have suffered greatly during the pandemic from stress, others have thrived. The isolation has made them reconsider their priorities. They’ve been forced to engage in down time, pick up stress-relieving hobbies and learn more self-sufficiency.

Though some turned to destructive habits, like drinking, using drugs, or overeating, others used this time to better themselves. They began doing at home workouts to improve their bodies.

They started doing things like puzzles, painting, participating in volunteer duties like dropping off goods to nursing homes or making dog toys for shelter pets. The global pandemic has caused a lot of suffering.

That can’t be denied. It hasn’t ended, either. There are still businesses shut down. Still regulations on social gathering. But you have the ability to determine how you handle the stress of this situation.

You can either face it head on with active solutions or allow it to steamroll you and usher in a wealth of problems that will only worsen what you’re going through. Use this time to help yourself and your loved ones better manage the stress life throws at you. 

10 Ways to Reduce Everyday Stress

10 Ways to Reduce Everyday Stress

Stress is responsible for many problems in people's lives. Stress causes worsened health problems, poor-quality work, and unsatisfying relationships. Managing and reducing stress is essential to everyday life if you want to be happy and fulfilled.

Identify Stress Starters

Take the time to see if there are obvious things that are causing stress and figure out how to solve it. If it is work-related, can these tasks be delegated to others, or can you find a better position? Or maybe as you identify stressors, you realize that your stress is increased after you had your coffee for the day.

Eat A Well-Rounded Diet

The old saying, ‘you are what you eat’ will always be true. Most of the time, if you don’t feel good, it can be traced to a poor diet. Unnatural food and unnatural or overly processed food and sugar are known to make stress worse.

Exercise Daily

Exercise reduces stress because anytime you exercise, you activate hormones that make you feel good. Conversely, the hormone cortisol is responsible for stress and is significantly reduced during exercise, so you both reduce hormones that make you feel stressed and boost hormones that make you feel good through exercise.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleeping poorly means an increase in cortisol in your blood, which leads to stress. Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night to function optimally. Likewise, don’t oversleep. Adults typically don’t need more than 9 hours a night of sleep.

Drink Enough Water

Dehydration can also increase cortisol levels, so make sure you get enough water per your weight. The standard message of drinking eight glasses of water a day applies but double-check with your healthcare professional to find out how much you need based on your weight, health, diet, and other factors unique to you.

Get A Blood Test

Stress can easily be caused due to underlying medical conditions or your vitamin levels being off. Get a comprehensive blood test to see where you may be having issues. Low vitamin D, B12, and iron are responsible for symptoms of stress.

Laugh Often

Get those feel-good chemicals activated by laughing. Laughing reduces muscle tension, increases oxygen intake, and reduces your heart rate and blood pressure— all reducing your stress.

Meditate Daily

Meditation uses mindfulness techniques to achieve a mental and emotionally stable state of being. This is why it is such a great technique to reduce stress, as this is the primary goal. Even five minutes daily after you wake up can make a big difference.

Practice Breathwork

Breathwork encompasses easy breathing exercises that can be done right away when stress feels overwhelming. It is as simple as holding your breath for a few minutes or following a phone application that has you tailor your breathing to the imagine. These exercises work by having your focus on other things while also bringing in a sense of relaxation due to increasing blood oxygen levels from regulated breathing patterns.

Listen to Music and Get Moving

Music and moving around are great medicine for many problems, not just stress. Moving and music can make people feel happy and energized. The more you produce feel-good hormones, the more your cortisol levels will decrease too. So, turn up that music and cut a rug.

When in doubt, don’t be afraid to seek the advice of a health professional if your stress is taking over your life. However, these ten ways to reduce everyday stress are a great way to start.

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When You’re Stressed for Too Long, Your Immune System Suffers

When You’re Stressed for Too Long, Your Immune System Suffers

Stress can make it rather difficult to operate at your full potential. Obviously, it has its share of mental effects, causing you to work less efficiently, but it also has many physical effects.

One physical effect of stress that you might end up encountering is that it lowers your immune system, leaving you more prone to getting sick. If you’ve noticed yourself getting frequently sick recently, it might not just be due to allergies or a bug going around.

It could be that you’re so stressed out that your body has started give up on its own immune system, which can be extremely bad in some circumstances. Now, for your immune system to be lowered, it takes more than just one bad day.

You need to be stressed out for an extended period of time. This can be hard to identify, though. If you go long enough being stressed out, eventually you’re going to be used to that as the norm.

You might be stressed out for awhile and not even realize it after a point. By lowering your immune system, your body is open to more harmful diseases. It could be something minor like a cold or a cough, but it could get a lot worse.

Some people experience rashes or airborne diseases that require a visit to the doctor to fix, leading to more costs, which can become stressful in its own right. Getting sick can put a serious damper on your work performance.

If it’s bad enough, you might not even be able to come into work, but if you do go, you’re definitely not going to be operating at your best levels. You’ll be worried about getting other people sick if it’s contagious, and you’re going to end up getting even more stressed out.

You need to keep your stress managed so that you can avoid getting sick. What might seem harmless can turn into nausea, headaches, viruses, and more. You need to treat your body right so that you can stay healthy and happy.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t have your bad days. It’s fine to have a day where you’re feeling stressed - that’s normal. However, you need to pull it together and figure out what to do next so that this feeling doesn’t continue on and take over your life.

That means regularly engaging in stress relief that’s tailored to your personal preferences. Switch it up and make sure that it’s something that soothes your mind and calms your nerves.

Your Body Continually Tries to Recover from Stress

Your Body Continually Tries to Recover from Stress

When it comes to stress and how it relates to aging, many people are afraid that just a little bit of stress can cause them to develop signs of aging and health problems. In reality, that’s not quite the case.

As an adaptation from our prehistoric days, humans have developed means of physically handling stress, but that’s only meant for short term bursts. If you have ongoing stress, then your body will always be trying to catch up, which can then lead to faster aging.

Some parts of this natural defense might be things you already recognize as signs of stress. For one, your heart rate will go up. This is because your body assumes it’s about to have to either fight or run, so it gets you all amped up and prepared.

For this same reason, you might also notice that your muscles tense up and you might even start to get twitches in your eye or muscles. These natural defenses are great for short term stress.

It gets you prepared to take on a challenge, and you’re able to do what you need to do. However, your body needs rest after that to recognize that you’re no longer stressed out and don’t need those defenses anymore.

With long term stress, you never get to that point. When you’re stressed out over a prolonged period of time, your body will be in a constant state of trying to repair itself and help you out, which ends up doing more harm than good.

Some of the defensive measures that your body puts in place can, if they don’t stop, give you signs of aging and even afflict you with physical health problems. Take, for example, the increased heart rate.

While it’s beneficial for a short burst of energy, if you have a high heart rate for awhile, you’re bound to eventually suffer from some heart complications. In some cases, this can even end up being fatal.

Another example would be the tensed up muscles. While it’s great for the fight or flight response, constant tension in your body can lead to so many physical problems normally reserved for senior citizens.

Your face will start to develop wrinkles over time from always looking worried, and your body will experience soreness and cramps more often than before. You need to take time to relax and let your body take a break from always trying to recover.

What to Do When People Are Your Primary Source of Stress

What to Do When People Are Your Primary Source of Stress

Stress comes from a variety of issues - including from people. Knowing how to deal with people who cause your stress can help you avoid the physical ramifications of having toxic individuals in your life.

These physical issues happen because of the emotional stress you deal with every time you encounter someone who makes you feel angry, sad, frustrated and more. Emotional stress is just as bad for speeding up the aging process as physical stress is.

It can cause diseases, immune system deterioration and more. You might have to deal with a friend or family member who causes you stress. It might be a coworker or someone you encounter regularly, like a neighbor.

Whoever it is, you need to learn how to deal with it to mitigate the effect on your health.

Start by identifying who the people are in your life who cause you stress. The way to tell if someone causes you stress is every time you think about being around them or you actually are around them, you have a visceral reaction.

Your stomach gets tied up in knots or you have an emotional reaction. You feel anxious or angry. People who cause stress often look at the negative in everything around them, including in you.

They always leave you feeling worn out. These people complain about how bad their life is or they compare their life to yours and tell you how lucky you are. They often tear down other people and can be subconsciously or even deliberately cruel in their comments or actions.

They don’t accept blame for anything going on in their life, but blame their friends, family, coworkers or even you. These people are always where the drama is or they’re the cause of whatever drama is going on.

They want you to be their shoulder to lean on and every time you spend time with them, you leave feeling a lot worse than when you arrived. You can put a stop to the drama that comes from other people.

Begin by going on the offensive. You already know this person or those people are going to cause you stress. Know your course of action before meeting up with them. Determine ahead of time how you’re going to handle it when the stress kicks in from being with them.

Don’t let someone else have the emotional reins in your life. People will say and do things that cause stress, but they can’t be in charge of how you respond to that stress. Only you can do that.

You can feel empathy toward someone without letting them emotionally wreck you. This usually comes from a friend who gets angry about something and leads you toward anger as well.

When someone does stress you out, don’t carry it with you. Deal with it immediately and then let go. When the topic of conversation or their actions trigger stress, either change the subject or address the actions directly. Keep your distance emotionally as much as possible and if that’s not possible, then keep a physical distance if you have to.

Can Stress Cause Digestive Issues?

Can Stress Cause Digestive Issues?

Stress doesn’t play hit and miss with your body, picking and chooses certain areas to affect while leaving other parts of it alone. Instead, stress launches a full body attack and impacts you from head to toe.

It can even cause digestive issues that can mildly or significantly impact your ability to live normally. When it comes to stress, you have to first understand that your gastrointestinal function doesn’t operate as a standalone system.

Your digestive system works in tandem with your brain and nervous system. When something goes wrong with either of those, the fallout is passed down to your digestive system.

That’s because your gastrointestinal system passes and receives signals. Stress disrupts or scrambles these signals. When you’re under stress, the systems can’t work smoothly and it causes a break down in communication.

You can get scrambled signals for things like differentiating how your body handles the digestive order. The process that works to handle the food can shortchange the amount of enzymes used or it can release too many enzymes.

You can experience spasms - not only in your esophagus, but in your stomach as well. The production of acid within your stomach can be affected by stress. Your food won’t be broken down the way it should and your body won’t be able to absorb the nutrition like it normally does when you’re not stressed.

Stress can cause stomach pain and nausea. It can cause your bowels to slow down so you develop constipation or it can cause them to speed up so that you end up with diarrhea.

You can develop inflammation within your digestive system. This can lead to cramps, weight loss, and fever. You may develop painful bloating. When your digestive system is affected by stress, it can cause you to have heartburn and it can lead to the development of serious gastrointestinal conditions.

You can develop ulcers due to the stress your body is feeling. Though it’s true that ulcers are directly linked to a specific bacteria, it’s the upset in the normal function of the digestive system under stress that allows this bacteria to flourish to the point of causing an ulcer.

If you have a condition such as IBS, stress can worsen that. Stress is known to cause flare ups of certain diseases such as IBS, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The reason that stress can impact your digestive system so heavily is because hormones are released when the body experiences stress.

These hormones flood your entire gastrointestinal system and throw it out of balance.

The stress that you’re under can keep your system out of balance until you take steps to alleviate it.

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